The Singaporean police have reported that cryptocurrency-related crimes have skyrocketed since 2018, and the uptrend does not seem to be slowing down. According to The Straits Times, around 393 reports were made last year amid the coronavirus crisis of cases involving crypto frauds, cheating, among others, which is more than three times the figures of 2019.
Additionally, the authorities pointed out that just 125 complaints were filed with the police, representing another surge from the 15 reported in 2018. Furthermore, between 2018 and 2020, criminals stole $29 million during these crypto-related crime cases.
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“These scammers and perpetrators play on a potential victim’s greed or need for cash or inability to resist making a quick buck, despite it seems too good to be true, and impatience to gain the goodies,” Anthony Lim, Director of the non-profit Centre for Strategic Cyberspace and International Studies, said. Lim added that the lack of regulation on cryptocurrencies favors criminals to commit such crimes in the country.
“Many of those who fall, victims, are not vigilant and don’t do due diligence prior… We are talking about thousands of dollars of one’s hard-earned money here; vigilance and due diligence is the least they could do before plunging,” he stated.
Singaporean Regulator’s Warnings on Cryptocurrencies
The Singaporean official’s rhetoric on cryptos goes in line with the cautions issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s top financial regulator. Recently, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies of Singapore, reminded the Parliament that the financial watchdog had repeatedly warned about how crypto investments or trading are risky.
During the COVID-19 economic crisis last year, the MAS eased its regulatory pressure temporarily on crypto firms and allowed almost 415 applicants to operate their payment or cryptocurrency-related operations without holding a license. Firms favored at that time included Alibaba.com, Alipay, Bitgo, Paxos, Paypal, Binance, Coinbase and Ripple.